Kaieteur News – The government has learnt nothing from the rest of the world. And because of this, we are going to suffer dire consequences.
There is a second wave of coronavirus infections and deaths across Europe. Paris, the capital of France, is now on a lockdown. People are racing to the countryside in order to avoid the restrictions. Supermarkets and stories are being besieged by persons seeking to stock up for the month-long lockdown.
All across Europe, there has been a resurgence of the coronavirus. Tighter restrictions are being imposed. The less from Europe is clear; it reopened too quickly.
On Thursday, the United States recorded more than 91,530 infections, surpassing the previous day’s record total of more than 70,000 cases. The death toll yesterday was back in the four digits. A total of 1,047 persons died.
Canada has also seen a massive spike in infections and deaths. Their epidemiologists have said that contact between persons need to be cut by 25% if the caseload and deaths are to be curbed.
In Guyana, the number of cases continues to rise. The graph of new infections has not been bent to the right. The number of active cases however is declining since the start of the month but this is a moot point considering the low levels of testing and the fact that there may be numerous asymptomatic cases prevalent.
Guyana’s per capita infection rate is higher than Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Venezuela, Barbados, Haiti, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Cuba, Dominica, St Lucia, St. Kitts Nevis and Grenada. The only countries in Caricom which have a higher per capita infection rate than Guyana is Belize and Suriname.
Guyana’s death rate remains unusually high. There is no evidence of poor treatment involved and therefore the high rate by be indicative of a far higher number of infections that is being recorded. Guyana has one the highest death rates in the Caribbean.
Guyana therefore is not doing well. The country is not yet safe to be reopened. In fact, even the six-phases reopening plan was far too ambitious as is now evident. We did not need the world to tell us that we reopened too quickly. From the last week in July now, the numbers indicate how disastrous has been the reopening of the economy.
Yet, the government is opening up the economy with a further slackening of social restrictions. Sport is going to be allowed subject to approval from the Ministry of Health. Gyms are going to be reopened and the curfew will now run from 10:30am to 4:00am.
The new curfew amounts to no curfew at all. As someone said in social media recently, what is the use of having a curfew if there is not going to be any implementation. The Guyana Defence Force was to be involved in a form of soft implementation. They have not only gone soft. They appear to have disappeared.
With the new curfew hours, the only effective strategy which is left on the table is the wearing of masks. But this is being flagrantly violated each day. Even some of the persons who are wearing masks are doing so deliberately incorrectly. They know they are not being allowed entry into some places without a mask and so they are wearing their masks but without covering their noses.
People who are not wearing masks are not placing themselves at so much risk as they are placing you and me. We are protecting them by wearing our masks but they are endangering us by not wearing theirs. And yet, the government has not as yet seen it fit to pass legislation to enforce the only effective measure which they have in place but which is being poorly enforced.
At present, the majority of persons dying are old people. This has led to complacency. Young people feel that even if they catch the virus, they will not succumb. What they do not realize is that by catching the virus, they risk transmitting it to the members of their families.
The government is slothful when it comes to the coronavirus measures. It is taking a long time to get things done. We hear about antigen tests being ordered. By the time that gets here, another 40 persons may succumb in the hinterland regions.
Three weeks ago, we were told that screening was going to be done for the elderly in Region One. Last week, it had not yet begun. Kwebana, an area in that Region, is now under lockdown.
The government promised to have regional plans for combatting the pandemic. To date, there is only one strategy, directed from central government.
And amidst all this uncertainty, the Minister of Education is having discussions with stakeholders about the reopening of schools in Region 5. Is anybody following what is taking place in the world?
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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